Must Love Horses by Vicki Tharp

Vicki Tharp may just be the best kept secret in western romantic suspense. Her books make me want to shout from the rooftops to the world, "Read this book!"  Her work is deep and complex, with so many layers the reader has no choice but to be sucked in and held spellbound. If you're a fan of romantic suspense at all, her books are definite must reads.

The way the series is put together reminds me of B. J. Daniels, with a standalone romance and happily ever after in each book but a thread of mystery running throughout the series. I really despise cliffhangers, but I don' think these fit that category. Ms. Tharp offers enough conclusions to satisfy the reader while leaving her with a curiosity about the next book.

It felt like I waited forever for Must Love Horses, and I was already half in love with Boomer, the hero, from meeting him in Cowgirl, Unexpectedly.  Here is my five-star review on Must Love Horses.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

After falling in love with the characters from Cowgirl, Unexpectedly, I was impatiently awaiting Boomer's story. Not only did I get my hands on an advance copy, I was so certain I would love this book that I also preordered it months ago. As I anticipated, Ms. Tharp delivered and then proceeded to make my expectations seem like a gentle rain shower in comparison to the hurricane of her talent in this book. I have a soft spot for cowboys, military men and damaged but tender-hearted heroes, and Boomer is the perfect storm! 

Where do I even begin with Boomer? He’s such a strong, alpha hero but wounded far deeper than the eye can see, yet still honorable, with a giant marshmallow heart. As I watched him struggle with PTSD and saw his determination to control his environment and himself, his internal battles were so realistic I felt like I was fighting alongside him. And I loved the message that when he was at what he perceived to be his weakest, he was exhibiting more strength than he realized he had. How could you not love this guy? I just wanted to wrap him up in my arms and make him all better, so I was impressed with Sidney's wisdom in handling him. I loved that Sidney didn’t put up with his shenanigans (Amazon won’t let me use the “S” word I really wanted to), yet also treated him similarly to one of her wild mustangs, and that the work Boomer did to get mentally healthy he did for himself, first and foremost.

Sidney was also easy to love. Aside from her penchant for running when things get tough, she was a strong, intelligent woman who had overcome a lot yet still had some challenges. Her gift for horse training made her a natural fit for the ranch, but the shadow of her parents' scandalous history of horse abuse made it even more difficult to prove herself to the outside world. 

Then there’s the plot. OMGee, this storyline!! Aside from the fact that the chemistry between Boomer and Sidney was off the charts and so strong it was palpable, there was never a dull moment in this book! It grabbed me by the heart and wouldn’t let go, so I was still caught in its clutches long after the story had ended. Not only was Boomer a little slow in realizing he couldn’t make something be so just because he willed it to be, which of course made for some rough road between him and Sidney, but external circumstances also plotted against them at every turn. I was on the edge of my seat, biting my nails and furiously swiping pages to find out what happened next. My skin was tight and prickly and my heart was thundering in my chest as I read; and is it possible to have an anxiety attack from reading a book?!

Ms. Tharp's story construction reminds me a lot of BJ Daniels and Lindsey McKenna, but (dare I say it?) I think her delivery may be even better! This was one adrenaline rush of a ride with all the elements of an exceptional romantic suspense present and accounted for. These books are standalone but interconnected, so you don’t really have to read them in order. Grab this guaranteed great read now and then pick up the first book in the series. If you’ve not read Ms. Tharp’s work, you’re really missing out, so what are you waiting for? You won’t be sorry!

Get your copy of Must Love Horses here. The next book in the Lazy S Ranch series, Hot on the Trail, comes out July 24, 2018, and is available for preorder now here. These books are well worth the few dollars price tag, so grab the first two so you're up to date and ready for the next visit to the Lazy S Ranch!

And if you're in the mood for a small-town, Low Country island romantic suspense, check out Don't Look Back. As a Carolina girl who spends a lot of time on the coast, I loved the picturesque authenticity of this book, as well as the captivating story.  Until next time, dear reader

Much love between the covers,

BookAddict

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